NEW YORK: The Havas Group has appointed James Wright as CEO of Havas PR North America and global chairman of Havas PR Collective, effective immediately.
Wright reports to Donna Murphy, global CEO of Havas Health & You. Most recently, he was CEO of the Havas-owned Red Agency Australia, and responsible for Havas-owned PR agencies across the Asia-Pacific region. He concurrently served as chief commercial officer for Havas Group Australia and New Zealand.
Wright will continue to hold his roles in Australia until the end of the year and is relocating from Australia to New York in January. Between now and December, he will spend one week in New York each month.
Wright replaces Marian Salzman, who left Havas in late April to join tobacco giant Philip Morris International as SVP of communications. Salzman relocated to Switzerland for the newly created role. Since 2009, Salzman led Havas through changes including the rebranding from Euro RSCG Worldwide PR in 2012. She also helped to create a Havas PR operation across several continents called the Global Collective, of which she was chair.
Wright’s appointment will "ensure continued alignment of the earned, experiential, and content offerings across the organization, as the Group enters the second part of its Together strategy," according to a statement.
The firm aims to "streamline the group’s offerings into powerful verticals, totally integrated into the 52 Havas Villages around the world," the statement explains.
The Havas PR Collective is the PR and communications arm of the Havas Group, comprising over 40 agencies around the world and more than 1,500 professionals across multiple disciplines. In his new role, Wright will lead the North America business, which has significant expansion plans. He will also spearhead more unified collaboration to the firm’s global offering focusing on creativity, technology, and innovation, according to a statement.
"This is an exciting time within the group where we are refocusing and reenergizing our offering in the PR content and experiential space," Wright said. "We are looking at how we can bring all of our agencies around the world closer together. We’ve got plans for expansion and development of the collective that we have."
In 2017, the wider Havas Group Australia and New Zealand tripled in size, under Wright’s leadership, according to a statement. Wright joined the Havas Group in 2011 from the U.K.
Editor's note: This story was updated on July 10 with comment from Wright.